COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Friends and family honored a Columbus man Friday night on what would have been his 51st birthday.

Brian Hatfield died after the duplex he lived in caught fire Monday morning, and Hatfield didn’t make it outside in time.

The fire blazed in the front of the home near the corner of Reeb Avenue and Fifth Street in Columbus.

Hatfield lived inside with one other person, who family said was able to climb out a second story window to safety. Hatfield’s sister Stephanie, her son Matthew, and several others occupied the other half of the duplex. They all made it out safely, but the family’s dog Diamond did not.

“I lost my uncle, my home, my dog. All in just a matter of hours. I don’t even know how to tell my son that his uncle’s gone,” said Matthew James Anderton, Brian Hatfield’s nephew.

“Brian was more than a brother, he was my best friend. He was just a good guy. He had a good heart and a good soul,” said Stephanie Hatfield, who led the effort to remember Brian on his birthday.

Family and friends gathered for about 45 minutes Friday evening to sing happy birthday, pray, listen to music that reminded them of Brian, and light candles in his memory. They laid flowers on the fence just outside the incinerated home he once lived in.

“He was a huge part of my life,” Stephanie said. “I’m going to have a big hole in my life for the rest of my life.”

Brian’s aunt Brenda Onesko said he was someone who was always available.

“Smiled a lot. He had an awesome smile. He was very caring. He did love his family. Loved his community,” Onesko said.

Brian was well known throughout the neighborhood for mowing grass for people in the summertime and clearing snow in the wintertime, Stephanie said — something she’s sure will be missed.

“He would do a lot of these yards and the snow and stuff for free. If somebody couldn’t afford to pay him, he would just do it for free,” Stephanie said.

The Columbus Division of Fire is investigating the cause of the fire. Family members at the vigil said they believed it was started due to a cooking accident.